HARRISBURG – Legislation to bring Pennsylvania into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act passed the House and heads to the governor’s desk for signature, House Republican leaders said Wednesday.
In October of last year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS) informed Pennsylvania that residents would face new restrictions for entering federal facilities and boarding domestic airline flights because Pennsylvania driver’s licenses and non-driver IDs issued by the Department of Transportation (PennDOT) are not considered to be in full compliance with the requirements established under the federal REAL ID Act.
House and Senate leaders, along with Gov. Tom Wolf, were able to secure a limited extension from USDHS, which was announced on Jan. 19, 2017. The extension expires on June 5, 2017.
Senate Bill 133 includes a House initiative establishing a two-tiered system under which residents would be able to choose between a traditional driver’s license or non-driver ID, or a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or non-driver ID. Residents who choose a REAL ID-compliant card would pay an additional charge.
The bill, expected to be signed by the governor, will allow Pennsylvania residents, commuters and businesses to avoid disruptions related to noncompliance.
Once the bill becomes law, the Department of Transportation can begin working with the federal government to update its systems to complete compliance.
Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny); Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana); Majority Whip Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster County); Appropriations Committee Chairman Stan Saylor (R-York); Policy Committee Chairman Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre and Mifflin); Caucus Chairman Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery County); Caucus Administrator Kurt Masser (R-Columbia, Montour and Northumberland); and Caucus Secretary Donna Oberlander (R-Armstrong, Clarion and Forest) released the following statement:
“Pennsylvania has done much to make our licenses secure, but the federal REAL ID law mandates more. While many legislators have concerns about REAL ID, we are working with the Senate, Wolf administration and our Congressional delegation to ensure compliance in a reasonable and cost-effective manner to make sure Pennsylvanians have continued access to federal buildings and air travel.
“We found an appropriate balance allowing Pennsylvania residents to obtain an ID which will allow them to continue to access federal buildings and board domestic airline flights, while respecting the fact that some residents simply do not want to obtain a REAL ID.”